Occasionally when studying the deeds and works of the fine press establishment, you become aware that the bookish world is not all about, well, the books.
Sometimes it is also about creating a community of people.
This could stand as a truism for the earliest of the fine press publishers, who were mostly ‘book clubs’ inspired by the works of William Morris and the Arts and Crafts Movement (taking art and printing out of the hands of a few select publishers, and encouraging everyone to do so in their own towns, for their friends and family). The Caxton Club, formed in 1895 Chicago (similar to the Book Club of California) is one such group of fifteen nineteenth-century gentleman of the city, who sought to edify their personal libraries, and to run public lectures and cultural events in this, the ‘Great Birth of Science and Modern Learning’.
Over the years of their existence, the Caxton Club has steadily produced limited works every few years, and gradually becoming a more open organisation, and willing to engage with the outer artistic and literary world. Whilst they have never sought to produce fine art books for the ‘mass market’ or to compete on the world stage of publishing, nevertheless their catalogue offers a wonderful insight into the history of ‘home-printing’ and the early modern literary and publishing movement.
For the collector, no other book presents this better than the Caxton Club’s edition of Some Letters of Edgar Allen Poe (1896) printed on hand-made paper, only 186 copies ever printed, obviously a work of love by hobbyist book printers. Nevertheless; a fine example of the very skilled craftsmanship that was being employed up and down the country in the pursuit of knowledge! A copy of the above, over a hundred years old and still in good condition would only cost you as little as $400!
Joutel. Journal Of La Salles Last Voyage. Caxton Club (1896). limited print of 203 copiesA reprint of the first English translation, London, 1714; with the Map of the original French edition Paris, 1713, in facsimile; and Notes by Melville B. Anderson,
Derby, George Horation. Phoenixiana. Caxton Club (1897). 2 vols; 165 copies
Lasalle, Nicolas. Relation Of The Discovery Of The Mississipi River. Caxton Club (1898). Translated by Melville Anderson. Limited to 236 copies. Written From The Narrative Of Nicolas De La Salle.
La Salle, Robert, Cavelier De. Relation Of The Discoveries And Voyages Of Cavelier De La Salle. Caxton Club (1901). The Official Narrative. The Translation Done By Melville B. Anderson; Limited to 225 copies
Kinzie, Mrs John H. Wau - Bun The Early Day In The North-West. Caxton Club (1901). 256 copies printed on hand made paper; introduction and notes by Reuben Gold Thwaites.
Cheney, John Vance. The Caxton Club Scrap-Book: Early English Verses 1250-1650. Caxton Club (1904). Limited Edition of 250 copies
Uzanne, Octave. The French Bookbinders Of The Eighteenth Century. Caxton Club (1904). Limited edition 252 copies
Pollard, Alfred. An Essay On Colophons. Caxton Club (1905). With Specimens And Translations And With An Introduction By Richard Garnett; limited edition of 252
Davenport, Cyril. Samuel Mearne - Binder To King Charles II. Caxton Club (1906). Limited edition of 252 copies printed on American hand-made paper with 24 color plates
Thompson, James Westfall. The Frankfort Book Fair. Caxton Club (1911). The Francofordiense Emporium Of Henri Estienne 300 copies
Souvestre, Emile. An Attic Philosopher In Paris. Caxton Club (1917). Or A Peep At The World From A Garret, Being The Journal Of A Happy Man; 200 copies
Wilkins, Ernest Hatch. The Trees Of Genealogia Deorum Of Boccacio. Caxton Club (1923). limited edition of 160
Kenyon, Frederic G. Ancient Books And Modern Discoveries. Caxton Club (1927). 350 copies of this book were printed by Bruce Rogers at the press of William Edwin Rudge. The collotype plates were made by Emery Walker
Davenport, Cyril. Roger Payne, English Bookbinder Of The Eighteenth Century. Caxton Club (1929). printed in an edition limited to 250 copies by Walter Lewis at the Cambridge University Press.
Steel, John. Across The Plains In 1850. Caxton Club (1930). 350 copies printed for the
Zane, John Maxcy. Lincoln, The Constitutional Lawyer. Caxton Club (1932). limited printing of 300
Sweig, Stefan. The Old Book Peddler And Other Tales For Bibliophiles. Caxton Club (1937). translated by Theodore W. Koch, signed by translator Koch,200 limited printing.
Bay, J. Christian. The Pickwick Papers Some Bibliographical Remarks. Caxton Club (1938). 250 copies printed by Updike at The Merrymount Press.
Brown, Lloyd A. Revolutionary War Journals Of Henry Dearborn. Caxton Club (1939). Edited By Lloyd A. Brown, Howard H. Peckham, Biographical Essay By Hermon Dunlap Smith Edition of 350
Carleton, J. Henry. The Prairie Logbooks. Caxton Club (1943). 1844-1845 Dragoon Campaigns To The Pawnee Villages In 1844 And To The Rocky Mountains In 1845; 350 copies
Meine, Franklin J. John Mccutcheons Book. Caxton Club (1948). limited to 1000 copies printed by Lakeside Press with tail piece by Bruce Rogers
Sibley, Henry Hastings. Iron Face The Adventures Of Jack Frazer Frontier Warrior, Scout And Hunter. Caxton Club (1950). 500 copiesSigned and inscribed by Theodore Blegen who wrote the introduction.
Sibley, Henry Hastings. Iron Face The Adventures Of Jack Frazer Frontier Warrior, Scout, And Hunter. Caxton Club (1950). A Narrrative Recorded by Walker-in-the-Pines (Henry Hastings Sibley). Edited, with introduction and notes, by Theodore C. Blegen and Sarah A. Davidson. Foreword by Stanley Vestal. 500 copies signed and inscribed by Blegen.
Owens, Harry J. Doctor Faust. Caxton Club (1953). A Play - Based Upon Old German Puppet Versions. With Woodcuts By Fritz Kredel. Layout By Victor Hammer, Presswork By Jacob Hammer And Binding By Elizabeth Kner; 350 copies